Dear Executive Team,
Research showed that the customers in different cultures are affected by their cultural values when choosing a brand (Kim et al. 2002). With this letter I would like to give recommendations related to the introduction of our brand In-n-Out Burger to foreign markets, in particular China and Brazil.
To begin with, I wanted to remind you about the particular attitude Chinese have toward fast food restaurants. Large fast food chains operating in the Chinese market (namely McDonalds and KFC) deviated from their American strategies and adopted their operations to the cultural needs of China. In particular, they tend to serve not only classical burgers but also food rich in beans, grains and vegetables. In China, their food is lower in calories, cooked on deep frying and served with chopsticks. The red colour is also an important medium in Chinese culture which symbolizes luck and fortune, so fast food restaurants in China are often decorated with red bangers and red lanterns. This is a big difference between China and the West, the latter treating red colour as an emblem of revolution and blood (Xie 2007).
Another distinction worth mentioning is that the target audience of Chinese and American fast food restaurants are not the same. In China, prices for fast food are relatively higher, which is explained by middle age people and families, mostly with middle level incomes, being their key customers. Such composition of the target group is not surprising, given that fast food symbolizes modernity and the West.
On the other hand, Brazilian market may present much less cultural obstacles for entrance. When McDonalds entered the market in 80s, Brazil already was open to American products. Only minor adjustments have been made. For example, Brazilians are notoriously picky in meat, so that McDonalds had to provide meat adaptations. It also served fresh fruit squeezed drinks such as guarana and marakuja, tropicalized the restaurant decorations and added the larger assortment of ice creams to menu. But despite these minor changes, the adaptations were so minimal that even names of products did not change.
In contrast, the Dunkin Donut stores implemented the strategy of product “hybridization” in an attempt to win the Brazilian market. They offered food products combining elements of American fast food and Brazilian classical meals. For example, they developed a special premium blend of coffee, which could compete with high quality Brazilian coffee shops. But it also continued serving the American iced coffee “Dunkin Ice” (Risner 2001).
In conclusion, both Chinese and Brazilian markets require careful preparations about smart branding and product adaptation. But Brazil, as a historic part of Western civilization, is less culturally different from the US and so presents much less hindrances for entrance.
- Kim, J., Forsythe, S. and Gu, Q. L. (2002). Cross-cultural consumer values, needs and purchase behavior. Consumer Marketing, 19 (6), 481-503.
- Risner, M. (2001). The Role of Culture in Successful Franchising in Brazil: Case Studies. University of Florida.
- Xie, Q. Y. (2007). Cultural Difference between the East and the West Canadian Social Science. 3(5), 114-117.